How To Extend the Life of a Bouquet


I love receiving flowers as much as any girl, but making them last is always a challenge. My husband surprised me with these a few days before Valentine’s Day and they still look amazing a week later. The sweet gesture reminded me of when we first started dating and he’d bring me the same number of blooms as the number date we were on. Aww, right? Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks that help extend the life of my bouquets and thought I’d share.

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How to extend the life of a bouquet in 5 easy steps

1. Prepare your vase
I own an embarrassing amount of vases according to my husband. I tend to favor very simple, low-profile, short types but there is a style for everyone. I choose my vase based on the types of blooms, usually. Tulips are top-heavy and tend to require some support, so a taller vase is usually a good choice, but my general rule for estimating my vase height is the arrangement itself. I like to pull out my favorite vases onto a counter and hold the arrangement near the counter edge, so I can visualize how much chopping-off of the stems I’ll have to do for each. Once I’ve estimated which best suits the bouquet, I mix the floral food packet with cold water, filling the vase a little under 1/2 to 2/3 full. You should NOT fill the vase with water.

2. Trim stems
Next, I unwrap the entire arrangement, taking care not to muss it too much if I like how it’s arranged. I like to unwrap on a large flat surface, leaving the paper right underneath as a work-space. Next, I’ll grab one stem and hold it up next to the vase as I did in step 1, and trim the bottom on an angle with sharp scissors to the desired height that best suits the vase. This stem will guide me as I trim the rest of the bouquet. Placing the stem back onto the arrangement, with the head of the flower aligned with the rest, work stem by stem, trimming each.

3. De-leaf to the waterline and a bit above
A lot of people don’t know to do this. The less bacteria you introduce from murky bouquet water up into the blooms themselves, the better, so I like the remove a good portion of any remaining leaves on my flower stems. I like a little green up at the top, but removing excess leaves helps encourage airflow among the blooms at the top. Remember, these aren’t growing plants anymore, so you’re trying to preserve and extend their luster.

4. Keep them cold
There is a reason why floral cases are refrigerated. Cold extends the life of cut flowers. At night, I’ll sometimes pop an arrangement into the fridge or the coldest part of the kitchen instead of keeping them in the bedroom where we blast the space heater in the winter.

5. Maintain
To really extend the life of a bouquet, change the water every three days, re-trim the edges, and immediately remove any dead or dying blooms. They release a gas once they’re on their way out that will quickly cause the rest of the bouquet to die, so as soon as you see one start to go, toss it.

I hope some of these tips help you to extend the life of your bouquets as they have mine. I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you have!


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